When buying a running shoe, there is a lot to consider. One of these factors is the brand to buy from. You wish to purchase your running shoes from a brand with a proven track record of delivering what they say. Their shoes need to be of the stated quality, durability, performance, etc.
Saucony and New Balance are some of the top athletic shoe brands. Both companies started in the 1920s, and as such, it is safe to say that both have an almost equal duration of experience in the running shoe industry.
Are Saucony and New Balance running shoes the same? Is one brand superior to the other? What is the overall performance of the shoes by these brands? Well, we will find out all these by the end of this article. But first, a little background on Saucony and New Balance.
Saucony is a shoe brand now based in Canton, Massachusetts. They have been in this running shoe industry for longer than a decade, and as such, they have gained considerable experience. Saucony has over 130 shoe models, with the Endorphins being one of their most famous.
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About New Balance
New Balance has grown over more than 100 years to become one of the go-to brands for both stylish everyday footwear and running shoes. Just like Saucony, this brand has over a decade of experience in the shoe-making industry. They have over 150 running and trail shoe models to date.
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Features That Make the Best Running Shoe: Saucony Vs. New Balance Comparison
We have seen that both Saucony and New Balance have almost the same years of experience in the shoe-making business. But in the Saucony Vs. New Balance running shoe battle, who is the winner? Well, let’s look into the features of the two shoes and figure out the winner.
A shoe cushioning is one of the most critical aspects of a shoe. It can make a runner’s experience tremendous or worse. This is because it is the basis of the much-needed protection against running aspects, leading to muscle pain and injuries.
Saucony has for the longest time used grid-based cushioning known as Powergrid. This system works by spreading impact through the shoe as the foot touches the running surface. It has effectively provided cushioning, but Saucony shifted to Everun in 2015 and has now used it in shoes such as Saucony Guide and Triumph.
Everun is a thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) material. It behaves like a sponge upon impact and as rubber when taking off. As such, it provides energy transfer while reducing fatigue and the risk of injury. TPU cushioning also provides heat resistance and makes the shoe more durable.
When it comes to New Balance, they offer a variety of cushioning systems. You can choose from Fresh Foam, Revlite, or Fuelcell. FreshFoam cushioning technology, first introduced through New Balance 980, is made of EVA foam that is molded to create a shoe’s midsole.
It is three-layered, and the design spreads and absorbs impact when running. The good thing with Fresh Foam is that it can be molded to deliver the desired results, whether cushioning, responsiveness, or speed.
New Balance’s FuelCell, is an option for those who desire to have a TPU-like midsole cushioning. This brand uses FuelCell for running shoes that aim to deliver responsiveness and speed, such as the New Balance FuelCel.
FuelCell is similar to Fresh Foam but more durable and comfortable thanks to the TPU material. It is also more responsive than Saucony’s Everun.
Saucony and New Balance running shoes have excellent cushioning, and it is almost a tie for these two brands. However, if you want a shoe that has been used in a variety of shoe models, Saucony might be better, seeing that New Balance’s FuelCell has only been used in a few running shoe models.
This upper is probably one of the most talked-about features of a shoe as it primarily describes how the shoe looks, but it is also one of the least considered by most brands. Upper construction consists of the mesh, lacing system, uppers, tongue, and heel counter. The mix of these features plays a vital role in the running shoe’s protection, breathability, fit, and durability.
Saucony running shoes feature a mesh upper fabric. It could be either the ordinary mesh or a re-engineered one to make it firmer and sturdier. Their upper construction is called ISOFIT, which delivers ideal support by giving the shoes a sock-like feel.
Saucony also uses FlexFILM technology on its uppers to reduce rubbing, thus making the shoes more comfortable. This tech reduces the risk of blisters, and Saucony is now using it more and more in their newer models. Whether the shoes have ISOFIT of FlexFILM, Saucony’s running shoes are breathable, comfortable, and lightweight.
New Balance shoes are also breathable and flexible, thus giving a good fit. This brand uses knitted upper fabric on most of its shoes for a sock-like fit. Due to this, New Balance shoes are often more comfortable.
In addition, New Balance makes some of the best running shoes for wide feet because their shoes have a wide toe box. Some of their version, such as the New Balance 860, are available especially for wide feet, making this brand an excellent choice for those with wide feet or bunions.
As far as upper construction is concerned, New Balance is an ideal choice if you like a loose-fitting running shoe or have wide feet. Otherwise, for closely fitting running shoes, Saucony is the go-to brand.
A shoe’s outsole comparison should answer a question on the shoe’s durability and traction. We all want running companions that make running easier but also deliver value for money by being durable.
Saucony uses XT-900 carbon rubber in their running shoes heel. This makes the shoes lightweight and comfortable enough for extended runs.
New Balance uses a mixture of a dish of rubber and blown rubber in their outsoles. The mix delivers adequate grip, especially on wet surfaces. It also makes the shoes plush and comfortable. This brand also has a steeper heel.
Saucony now uses their latest technology referred to as PWRRUN or EVERUN to provide additional cushioning in the midsole. The midsole’s design gives energy return whether you are a beginner or seasoned runner.
The new tech is more durable and temperature resistant than the EVA foam used in Saucony’s previous models. This means that your feet will feel the same whether you are running in scorching or frigid temperatures.
Still, on Saucony, they also use Powergrid+ tech, which resembles grid holes. This technology disburses impact over a wide area.
New Balance uses Fresh Foam technology in their midsoles, and they have also introduced LAZR, which Fresh Foam midsole but laser cut for precision. Laser cutting also means that less material goes to waste, which is good for the environment.
Both New Balance’s Fresh Foam and LAZR are pretty comfortable, lightweight, and durable.
This is yet another tie for the two shoes. They deliver on breathability, lightweight, and comfort, which are essential in a running shoe’s midsole. However, Saucony would take the lead if you are keen on temperature control.
It isn’t easy to compare the affordability of Saucony’s and New Balance’s running shoes because the two use different pricing strategies. The shoes of the two brands also differ in features, so it is hard to find pairs of the two brands whose only difference comes in their price point.
However, if you are looking for the best running shoe that is well priced, then you should opt for either New Balance 1400v2 or Saucony Kinvara. These two pairs deliver the best value for money.
Both brands make durable shoes, but if you want running shoes with a modern, stylish look, Saucony is your best bet. On the other hand, should you be looking to purchase off-road running shoes, go for New Balance.
Saucony has a variety of running shoes to choose from for both trail and road runners. However, most averagely priced Saucony shoes are not very breathable, so they don’t make an ideal choice for activities such as training in the gym.
New Balance has a wide variety of shoes to choose from, and they mainly cater to off-road runners who need a shoe that will withstand challenging terrain. Their shoes make an excellent choice for athletes and other outdoor runners.
Saucony and New Balance have been around for a long time. Their experience can be seen in the craftsmanship in their shoes. Both brands are some of the few who manufacture running shoes for various activities such as road running, trail running, hiking, exercising in the gym, walking, and outdoor sports.
The two brands make their shoes differently in terms of cushioning system, upper construction, outsoles, and midsoles. Although different, they deliver in terms of comfort, ideal cushioning, breathability, and durability.
It is hard to pick a winner between Saucony and New Balance. If forced, we would go for New Balance because their shoes often have a beautiful design. If you prefer to purchase loosely-fitting shoes or have wide feet, we recommend you go for New Balance. Otherwise, for a narrow fit, Saucony will be a good choice.
Marko Rakic is a trail runner and fitness enthusiast from Sydney, Australia. He is the lead writer for The Ultimate Primate and believes the best way to live a happy life is to take a holistic approach to fitness and health.